Consistency. It is the most important factor in seeing results that you want. Recently we offered free goal setting sessions, which many of our members took advantage of. The one thing we mentioned to everyone was that no matter what the goal was, consistency was key. Here are a few examples of why consistency is so important:
Weight loss is the #1 reason people join us. Once you decide to make a significant change and start down the weight loss road, it can seem like a monumental effort. For a lot of us, it takes far longer to drop the weight than it did to put it on. This is where consistency comes in. If you take weight loss in smaller steps, and consistently follow them, you’ll start seeing results. Mistakes will be made along the way, which is fine as long as you don’t build on them.
Let’s take a typical week for most of us as an example. Monday through Thursday are usually our best days fitness and diet-wise. We hit the gym, follow our diet plans, and get to sleep on time. Friday comes around, and we let up a little. Maybe we go out to eat that night or grab some drinks with the crew from work. It’s okay though, we were good all week long! Then Saturday rolls around, so sleeping in and skipping the gym today should be fine. Why not add some pancakes to breakfast too? Then add some dessert after dinner, since we were good all week. Sunday? Well, that’s cheat day right?! Everything is on the table! Let’s not even worry about calories today, we’ll get back on the train tomorrow……
If we add up all the calories you probably have Friday night through Sunday, you’ve had more than Monday-Thursday combined. Plus you didn’t work out. This is where consistency needs to come in to play. Instead of using the weekend as an excuse to forget about your diet, the mindset needs to change and you need to look at it as an opportunity to improve on all the good work you did during the week.
Despite popular belief, you don’t have to be 100% all-out, “balls to the wall”, working close to failure every time you lift. Again, consistency is more important. If you look at a more traditional strength block for powerlifting, there are very few (if any) days you are working to failure. The percentages are manageable so you can get the correct amount of volume in for your muscle and Central Nervous System to adapt to the work load.
There are times you may not be able to squat the percentage you are supposed to. It could be because of poor diet, lack of sleep, or just having a bad day. It’s still important to lift on those days, even if you end up bringing the weight down significantly. Moving through the range of motion of the lift at a lower weight increases blood flow to the areas most affected which helps your body rebuild muscle.
Think of when you are away for a week, and when you come back how awful that first workout feels. It’s not just you, everyone feels it. That’s because conditioning is one thing, fickle. It comes and goes as often as Nike comes out with a new pair of shoes.
If you look back at the Travel Workout videos we made this time last year, you’ll notice none of them were focused on strength. They may have had a strength component, 50 man makers with 50lb dumbbells for example, but the main focus was conditioning. If nothing else, you want to try and keep your conditioning up as much as possible when you don’t have many workout options. The great thing about conditioning is you don’t need any equipment to do it, so there’s no excuse not to be consistent with it.
Consistency > Perfection
To end, I do want to remind you that you won’t be perfect with your health and fitness. We all lose motivation, we all struggle with diet, and we all have those “screw it!” moments. The important thing is to consistently strive to improve, and you will.
All of you probably know by now that I love me some cookies, and when they’re around I struggle mightily with my diet. I have tough days and start eating them, but I’ve also started backing off how many I have when I fall off the wagon. Having a bad moment is no reason to throw away all the hard work you’ve been putting in. Accept that it happened, but move on and improve!